Feed aggregator

  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.

Mercedes-Benz creates Avatar-inspired EV concept, uses no unobtainium

ArsTechnica - Tue, 01/07/2020 - 9:01am

Mercedes-Benz has gotten into the habit of bringing some rather forward-looking concept cars to CES. Two years ago, the company gave some of us late night rides down the Las Vegas Strip in its Smart Vision EQ concept car, even if that was actually a remote-controlled show car rather than a functional self-driving machine. I'm not on the ground at CES this year, so I didn't get to see this year's Mercedes concept in person, but it looks even more out there. It's called the Vision AVTR, and the name is a clue—it was designed together with the people responsible for the movie Avatar. Yes, really.

Like most of us who saw the 2009 sci-fi film from James Cameron, I can't remember much about it other than that it had elements of Dances with Wolves, but in space with blue giants, plus mining for "unobtanium" (which must have been discovered by the British, or it would surely have been called unobtainum). Looking at the photos Mercedes has released of the Vision AVTR aren't helping fill in those gaps, but based on the description, it too requires some unobtainium—or at least some enabling technologies that have yet to be invented.

Mercedes says that the car uses graphene-based batteries that are biodegradable and use no rare-earth elements. (Graphene batteries are a thing people are working on, but it's still the preserve of our Science section rather than anything showing up any time soon in a car you could buy or drive.)

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PGP keys, software security, and much more threatened by new SHA1 exploit

ArsTechnica - Tue, 01/07/2020 - 7:45am
PGP keys, software security, and much more threatened by new SHA1 exploit

Enlarge (credit: David Göthberg)

Three years ago, Ars declared the SHA1 cryptographic hash algorithm officially dead after researchers performed the world’s first known instance of a fatal exploit known as a "collision" on it. On Tuesday, the dead SHA1 horse got clobbered again as a different team of researchers unveiled a new attack that’s significantly more powerful.

The new collision gives attackers more options and flexibility than were available with the previous technique. It makes it practical to create PGP encryption keys that, when digitally signed using SHA1 algorithm, impersonate a chosen target. More generally, it produces the same hash for two or more attacker-chosen inputs by appending data to each of them. The attack unveiled on Tuesday also costs as little as $45,000 to carry out. The attack disclosed in 2017, by contrast, didn’t allow forgeries on specific predetermined document prefixes and was evaluated to cost from $110,000 to $560,000 on Amazon’s Web Services platform, depending on how quickly adversaries wanted to carry it out.

The new attack is significant. While SHA1 has been slowly phased out over the past five years, it remains far from being fully deprecated. It’s still the default hash function for certifying PGP keys in the legacy 1.4 version branch of GnuPG, the open-source successor to PGP application for encrypting email and files. Those SHA1-generated signatures were accepted by the modern GnuPG branch until recently, and were only rejected after the researchers behind the new collision privately reported their results.

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China’s lander releases data, high-resolution images of the Moon

ArsTechnica - Tue, 01/07/2020 - 7:19am

A little more than one year ago, China's Chang'e 4 spacecraft landed on the far side of the Moon. In doing so, it became the first-ever vehicle to make a soft landing on the side of the Moon facing away from Earth.

To mark the one-year anniversary, China released a batch of scientific data and images captured by five scientific payloads aboard the 1.2-ton spacecraft and its small Yutu 2 rover. Since the landing, the rover has driven a little more than 350 meters across the Moon's surface, studying rock formations and taking additional photos. The data was collected over a period of 12 lunar "days," or most of the last year.

The lander itself carried an excellent camera to image its surroundings. Extra sharp with a good color balance, the Terrain Camera was mounted at the top of the lander, with the ability to rotate 360 degrees. Before it died at the end of the first lunar day, this TCAM returned detailed images of the Moon. A helpful Twitter user in France, Techniques Spatiales, converted the camera's imagery into .png files, which can be found here.

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Sony stuns CES with an electric show car, the Vision-S

ArsTechnica - Tue, 01/07/2020 - 5:44am

It seems like just yesterday I was complaining about CES turning into a car show. Someone must have heard me, because it appears the response from the tech sector was to say "hold my beer and watch this…" On Monday evening in Las Vegas, Sony used the last few minutes of its CES keynote to show off a concept electric vehicle called the Vision-S.

Yes, Sony, maker of Walkmen and Playstations and TVs and so on. And yes, an EV concept car, in this case a sedan that, if you squint, looks a bit like a cross between a Porsche Taycan and a Lucid Air. We don't believe Sony has any plans to start challenging Tesla in the marketplace or to offer a driving experience beyond hooking a steering wheel up to a PS4. Instead, the Vision-S is a showcase for all the enabling technologies that Sony does have a hand in.

There are sensors—33 of them in total, including high-resolution CMOS optical, solid state lidar, radar, and time-of-flight sensors, all of which are fused together to create an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) suite that Sony is calling a "Safety Cocoon" (pdf).

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LG and Samsung TVs at CES: Bezel-free, smaller OLEDs, and more

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 6:50pm
Here's a 77-inch 8K TV in a heavily photoshopped image from LG.

Enlarge / Here's a 77-inch 8K TV in a heavily photoshopped image from LG. (credit: LG)

What's going on in the world of high-end TVs? LG's and Samsung's announcements at CES 2020 have already provided a clear picture of what we can expect. The latest trend is wall-mounted TVs designed to be flush with the surface they're mounted on (or close to it).

New CPUs offer machine learning-based features to improve picture quality based on the type of content viewed. Plus, LG introduced a smaller OLED model size, Samsung is pitching a TV with virtually no bezels, and new 8K models are making their way to consumers' homes.

Let's start with LG's announcements.

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SpaceX is now the world’s largest satellite operator [Updated]

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 5:00pm
This Falcon 9 rocket has launched three times, including on the Telstar VANTAGE 18 mission in 2018.

Enlarge / This Falcon 9 rocket has launched three times, including on the Telstar VANTAGE 18 mission in 2018. (credit: SpaceX)

10:20pm ET Update: The Falcon 9 rocket launched right on schedule, streaking into the black Florida sky. Less than 10 minutes later, the rocket's first stage landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. This particular core has now flown four times.

One hour after launch, the rocket's second stage released its payload of 60 Starlink satellites. As they floated into low-Earth orbit, SpaceX became the company in the world with the most satellites. And with perhaps 20 more Starlink launches planned for this year, they're only getting started.

The only downer on the night is that while the GO Ms. Tree vessel came close to nabbing one payload fairing half, it did not quite make it.

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Goop’s Netflix trailer: Paltrow sinks into a vagina, spews pseudoscience

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 3:37pm
Promotional image of Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow emerging from a stylized image of the female genital anatomy.

Enlarge / Promotional image of Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow emerging from a stylized image of the female genital anatomy. (credit: Netflix)

Netflix released a trailer Monday for the six-episode series The Goop Lab with Gwyneth Paltrow, which—as expected—appears to spew as much pseudoscience and evidence-free wellness muck as the mogul's notorious "contextual commerce" business, Goop.

In Netflix's own words, the show intends to guide "deeply inquisitive" viewers through "boundary-pushing wellness topics," such as "energy healing and psychics." The show—like Goop—appears to be largely aimed at women, and the trailer's release was accompanied by an image of Paltrow appearing to descend into an artist's rendition of a vagina.

Goop critics were quick to decry the show, arguing that—like the brand—it actually intends to guide exploitable viewers through unproven and potentially dangerous health practices, such as the same garbage Goop has been promoting for years. And the show—like Goop—claims to "empower" women only by convincing them to try dubious treatments and products.

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Dell’s new Concept UFO puts PC gaming on a Nintendo Switch-like device

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 3:00pm

CES may be flooded with new tech coming out soon, but it's also a place for companies to show off new things that may (or may not) become a reality in the future. Dell's doing just that within its Alienware gaming family with a new concept device dubbed Concept UFO, a handheld gaming console that looks quite similar to the Nintendo Switch but is built for full-fledged portable PC gaming.

We should preface the rest of this article by saying that this is exactly what its name suggests: a concept. While we got a few minutes to mess around with working models of Concept UFO ahead of CES, Dell currently does not have concrete plans to bring Concept UFO to market. Most questions about specs or detailed capabilities were promptly deflected as well, so the details we know about the inner workings of the device are limited.

Ars at CES 2020 View more stories First impressions

However, unlike many other concepts I've tested in the past, Concept UFO was quite impressive because it actually worked. It's a rectangular handheld gaming console with an eight-inch display and removable controllers on both ends. Working models I saw all ran Windows and were able to render playable games in handheld mode; docked mode, in which the console was connected to an external display and its controllers were detached; and another portable mode in which the controllers were detached but connected by a center "bridge."

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Ditching coal in the US is saving lives, helping crops

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 3:00pm
Image of a lump of coal.

Enlarge / If you're bad, you get coal. (credit: Donna Pizzarelli, USGS)

A lot of the discussions about switching sources of electricity focus on costs, specifically whether going renewable will cost more than fossil fuels. But the costs of fossil fuels go well beyond simply the costs of supplying the fuel. Fossil fuels create costs by harming human health and the environment—these costs aren't priced into electricity produced. Instead, they wind up being paid by society at large—and that's before pricing in the inevitable costs of climate change.

In fact, in the United States, the rationale for Obama-era climate rules included the idea that the regulations would save money by avoiding these costs. That claim was controversial, however, and the Trump administration's rollback of these rules also claimed to provide economic benefits.

What's been lacking is a clear measure of the impact of pollution from fossil fuels. In an attempt to rectify that, Jennifer Burney of the University of California, San Diego, took advantage of a natural experiment that the US has been undertaking: shuttering older coal plants and replacing them with natural gas, which produce far less pollution. Using data from a decade of vanishing coal plants, Burney found that tens of thousands of deaths had been avoided by replacing coal plants. As an added bonus, the productivity of nearby farms increased as well.

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YouTube decides it’s easier to treat all watchers of kids’ content as kids

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 2:42pm
A young child watches a laptop computer.

Enlarge / A young child watches a laptop computer. (credit: Getty Images)

Congratulations, you're a child again! Or at least you will be one as far as YouTube is concerned any time you happen to see a video designated as being "for kids."

YouTube announced that change in a corporate blog post today, as the platform continues to try and thread a particularly tricky needle. YouTube (and the creators who use it) want to spread content as far and wide as possible, and they want to make as much money doing so as they can—but federal law limits what data companies can collect and use from the children who watch some of that content.

The changes stem from a $170 million settlement YouTube reached with the Federal Trade Commission last September over alleged violations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

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Latest trailer for long-delayed The New Mutants ratchets up the horror

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 2:25pm

Despite a long and bumpy road, 20th Century Fox's The New Mutants is finally coming to theaters this spring.

We were starting to think we'd never get to see it, but 20th Century Fox has dropped the latest trailer for The New Mutants, director Josh Boone's horror-inspired film originally developed as part of the The X-Men franchise. Slated for release in April, the film has been described as a "Stephen King meets John Hughes" YA horror film, with a dash of Stranger Things for good measure. The New Mutants does indeed feel very different tonally from prior films in The X-Men cinematic universe.

It's been a long road for Boone, who first pitched The New Mutants as a potential standalone trilogy to the studio after wrapping his 2014 film The Fault in Our Stars. From the start, Boone wanted to bring a different vibe to Mutants, much like Deadpool did in 2016. But while Deadpool went for raunchy R-rated comedy, Boone wanted to explore horror in the vein of classics like Rosemary's Baby and The Shining. "There are no costumes, there are no supervillains. We're trying to do something very, very different," he told Entertainment Weekly in 2017. But Boon later confessed to some frustration at the "neutering" of his original vision by the studio, which wanted more of a YA focus.

Early screenings of Boone's original cut were positive, and the success of IT in 2017 convinced the studio to play up the horror elements it had previously wanted to de-emphasize. Several reshoots were planned but never happened, in part because of conflicts in the actors' schedules, but also because Fox kept changing the planned release date to avoid competing with other films in its stable: Deadpool 2 in 2018 and last year's Dark Phoenix.

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AT&T et al. fight against higher upload speeds in $20-billion FCC program

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 1:59pm
A computer showing a slow-moving loading bar.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Steven Puetzer)

AT&T, Frontier, Windstream, and their industry lobby group are fighting against higher Internet speeds in a US subsidy program for rural areas without good broadband access.

The Federal Communications Commission's plan for the next version of its rural-broadband fund sets 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload as the "baseline" tier. ISPs seem to be onboard with that baseline level for the planned Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

But the FCC also plans to distribute funding for two higher-speed tiers: namely an "above-baseline" level of 100Mbps down and 20Mbps up, and a "gigabit performance" tier of 1Gbps down and 500Mbps up. It's the above-baseline tier of 100Mbps/20Mbps that providers object to—they either want the FCC to lower that tier's upload speeds or create an additional tier that would be faster than baseline but slower than above-baseline.

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Tired of hearing about Wi-Fi 6? Great, let’s talk about Wi-Fi 6E

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 1:38pm
Black-and-white logo proclaims Wi-Fi 6 Certified.

Enlarge / Expect to see an "e" tacked onto this logo somewhere in the near future, as an additional 1200MHz of spectrum becomes available to Wi-Fi 6 in the USA. (credit: Wi-Fi Alliance)

On Friday, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced a new branding for the expansion of Wi-Fi into an additional 1200MHz of unlicensed spectrum.

Dubbed "Wi-Fi 6E," the new spectrum should be made available for general Wi-Fi device use shortly; the US Federal Communications Commission proposed expansion of Wi-Fi into 6GHz spectrum in October 2018, and FCC chairman and novelty-coffee-mug aficionado Ajit Pai expressed a desire for the agency to "move quickly" (no concrete decision timeline was given) in opening up the spectrum to Wi-Fi at the Americas Spectrum Management Conference in September 2019.

What is Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6E is the Wi-Fi alliance's branding for accessing the proposed new 6GHz spectrum using the existing Wi-Fi 6 protocol, otherwise known as 802.11ax. The new spectrum is right next door to the 5GHz unlicensed spectrum we've all been using since 802.11n (Wi-Fi 4). That means its RF characteristics are close enough to what we're already accustomed to to require no further explanation: it'll act just like 5GHz networking already does, for the most part.

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Researchers unearth malicious Google Play apps linked to active exploit hackers

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 12:37pm
Researchers unearth malicious Google Play apps linked to active exploit hackers

Enlarge (credit: portal gda / flickr)

Researchers have found more malicious Google Play apps, one of which exploits a serious Android rooting vulnerability so the app can take screenshots and collect other types of sensitive user information.

Camero exploits CVE-2019-2215, a potent vulnerability discovered in October by Google’s Project Zero vulnerability research group, researchers from Trend Micro reported on Monday. The use-after-free flaw makes it easy for attackers to gain full root privileges on Pixel 1 and Pixel 2 phones and a host of other Android models. Google patched the vulnerability in October, a few days after Project Zero researcher Maddie Stone reported it was likely under active attack by either exploit developer NSO Group or one of its customers. All three apps are no longer available in Play.

Camero connected to a command and control server that has links to SideWinder, the code name for a malicious hacking group that has been targeting military entities since at least 2012. The app then downloaded attack code that exploits CVE-2019-2215 or a separate exploit in the MediaTek-SU driver that installs an espionage app called callCam. callCam collected a variety of sensitive user data including:

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Lenovo enters the foldable PC space with new ThinkPad X1 Fold

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 12:31pm
Ars at CES 2020 View more stories

Let's talk about the look and feel of the device first: final images of the ThinkPad X1 Fold look nearly identical to the prototype we saw last year. It's a 13-inch tablet with chunky black bezels that measures 7.8mm thick when laid flat and 27.8mm thick when folded. Weighing less than 2.2 pounds, it's not a particularly svelte device when compared to other flagship laptops and tablets, but it's not cumbersome, either. When opened, the prototype device I spent a few minutes with felt like a slightly thicker-than-usual tablet, and while the thick bezels are jarring to look at, they serve a purpose on a device that's meant to be moved and folded often.

The final display on the ThinkPad X1 Fold is a 13.3-inch, 2048×1536, pOLED panel with a 4×3 aspect ratio that Lenovo partnered with LG to include on the device. Since this device falls under the ThinkPad umbrella, Lenovo made a point to emphasize that the Fold has been put through the usual ThinkPad durability tests in addition to folding cycle tests. Supporting the foldable display is a multi-link torque hinge that Lenovo developed to make the opening and closing of the Fold as seamless as possible.

Lenovo is billing the ThinkPad X1 Fold as a device for those who frequently use a laptop, tablet, and smartphone and want a device that can combine some of the features of all of those devices into one. You can use the device as if it were any one of those devices—it acts as a tablet or a large smartphone when open, or as a makeshift laptop when folded in a 90-degree angle (there's an integrated kickstand on the back to better support it in this laptop-esque mode).

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Samsung’s $1,000 Galaxy Chromebook is the new Chrome OS standard-bearer

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 10:53am

Google took a step back from making premium Chromebooks when it updated the Pixelbook line with the less premium Pixelbook Go, but it looks like Samsung is picking up the "Premium Chromebook" mantle at CES 2020. Meet the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, a $1,000 laptop that is looking like the hottest Chrome OS device on the market.

The Galaxy Chromebook is the first Chromebook with a 4K, OLED display. It's the first Chromebook with a 10th-gen Intel processor. At just 9.9mm thick, this aluminum-bodied device is the thinnest Chromebook on the market. The display hinge folds all the way around for a tablet mode, and there's pen support with a stowable pen. There's a backlit keyboard and even a fingerprint scanner, a surprising rarity for Chrome OS devices.

Ars at CES 2020

View more stories The display is a 13.3-inch, 3840×2160 (16:9) OLED touchscreen with just a 3.9mm bezel around the top and sides. The processor is a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 Comet Lake U-Series with integrated graphics and a fanless design. You get up to 16GB of RAM, up to 1TB of SSD storage, Wi-Fi 6 support, and a 49.2Wh battery.

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Unpatched US government website gets pwned by pro-Iran script kiddie

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 10:06am

On the heels of the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps General Qassem Soleimani by a US MQ-9 Reaper strike on January 2, the US Department of Homeland Security warned of potential cyberattacks against critical infrastructure by Iran. That warning probably didn't apply to the website of the Federal Deposit Library Program, operated by the US Government Printing Office—which was defaced on January 4 with a pro-Iranian message and an image of a bloodied President Donald Trump being punched by an Iranian fist.

The FDLP website is no stranger to defacement attacks. As a brief analysis of the attack by a security researcher with the Twitter username @sshell_ noted, the site has been defaced twice in the last 10 years—most recently in 2014, when it was replaced with an electronic dance music video featuring a dancing cat. Based on a fingerprint of the site's files, the site—based on the Joomla content management system—had not had its code updated since 2012. And the site had modules that used a version of Joomla's RSForm that had been flagged 11 months ago as being vulnerable to a SQL Injection attack.

While the image depicting Trump had no metadata attached to it, another image with text had Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) data indicating it had been created with Adobe Photoshop CS 6 for Windows in 2015. As sshell_ noted, the image was used in a defacement reported to the "cybercrime archive" Zone-H by a user identifying themselves as IRAN-CYBER on December 2, 2015.

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Fisker shows off its new $37,499 electric crossover, due in 2022

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 9:19am

Do you remember Fisker? The brainchild of designer Henrik Fisker, the company was a very high-profile electric vehicle startup that benefited from a $529 million Department of Energy loan in 2010 before it all came tumbling down in 2013. Well, it's back. On the eve of this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Fisker unveiled its new battery EV, the Fisker Ocean, which is slated for production in 2022.

The car is aimed squarely at the mainstream—Fisker says the Ocean starts at $37,499 (before the $7,500 IRS tax credit), with flexible leases from $379 per month for terms as short as a single month with no long-term contract. (Leases will also require $2,999 down before delivery, but Fisker says it will have a "$0 drive-off" option that finances that $2,999 deposit.) Other improvements to the ownership (or leasing) experience will include having your vehicle picked up and dropped off when it needs maintenance, which is scheduled through a smartphone app, as is (or will be) "hassle-free" insurance.

In common with just about every recent EV that isn't a Tesla, there's a DC fast charging system with Electrify America for those long road trips that everyone cites as a reason they can't have an electric car. By the time the Ocean reaches those chargers, the ISO 15118 "plug-and-charge" protocol should be up and running, meaning the car will handle authentication and payment at the charging station without the user having to swipe a credit card or wave an RFID fob at anything. Although the press kit doesn't say anything about the Ocean's electrical architecture, there's a possibility that it may use an 800V approach like the Porsche Taycan, as Fisker states that the Ocean should be able to use Electrify America's 350kW chargers, which it says will take the battery from a 15 percent state of charge to 80 percent in 30 minutes.

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Final reminder: Donate to win swag in our annual Charity Drive sweepstakes

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 8:39am
Give a little joy.

Enlarge / Give a little joy. (credit: Flickr / xJasonRogersx)

Have you been putting off your entry into the most recent Ars Technica Charity Drive Sweepstakes? If so, let this serve as your final reminder to do so. You have until the end of the day today, Monday (EST), to get your entry in and get your donation counted (no purchase necessary for entry).

So far, nearly 500 readers have donated over $29,000 to the latest incarnation of our charity drive. That's well past the roughly $20,000 we raised last year, but we still have quite a ways to go to best the nearly $39,000 we raised in 2015's record-setting drive. If we make one final donation push I know we can set a new high-water mark, so let's dig deep and give, give, give!

If you haven't had a chance to give yet, follow the instructions below to get your donation counted and your entry logged for the sweepstakes. If you've already given, our deepest thanks from everyone at Ars.

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The FTC’s 2020 COPPA rules have YouTube creators scared

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 7:59am

The other night while I was getting ready to record a podcast, a Hangouts message came beeping in from my nine-year-old son. He wanted me to watch a video—one which he believed was very important—and come discuss it with him afterward. That video turned out to be a ten-minute clip from YouTube personality Maxmello—who, along with his wife Wengie, runs the Reacticorns YouTube channel—making a heartfelt appeal to his viewers to understand some unpopular changes he'd made to the channel.

Back in September, YouTube settled a pair of lawsuits from the FTC and the New York Attorney General for $170 million. The lawsuits alleged that the Google-owned YouTube has been flagrantly violating COPPA—the Childhood Privacy Protection Act. COPPA reins in the ability of websites to deliberately target and harvest personal information from children under the age of 13, and—in part—requires sites "directed to children" to "obtain verifiable parental consent" prior to collecting personal information; it also provides means for parents to review such information once collected.

Although YouTube's terms of service state that users must be at least 13 years of age in the US, the reality is that millions of American children—like my kids—watch a lot of YouTube. In some cases, underage YouTubers watch content without ever logging in at all; in others, they may be using their parents' account, or they or their parents may have created an account for them that simply lies about their age.

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